Michelle Knight was rescued along with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus after the three women were kept as captives for years by Ariel Castro, and the young woman has been the feistiest and most vocal about fighting to get her life back after the ordeal.
While Michelle Knight may have had a bumpy transition, of the three women, she is also the most determined in her statements to get past the ordeal she endured alongside her fellow Ohio kidnap victims.
In court yesterday, Knight directly addressed Castro, first introducing herself to the courtroom and saying:
“My name is Michelle Knight, and I would like to tell you what 11 years was like for me… I worried about what would happen to me and the other girls every day.”
Knight admits that while she was imprisoned, forced to submit to violence and even thrown down the stairs when she became pregnant, that she cried every single night.
“Days never got shorter. Days turned into nights. Nights turned into days. Years turned into eternity.”
Of the three women rescued, Knight was held the longest and, it has been speculated, was the least searched for due to the circumstances under which she had disappeared. Shortly before she accepted an ill-fated ride from Castro, Knight had lost custody of her toddler son.
She says that in her years held captive, she worried she’d never see her boy again.
Frank Ochberg has since evaluated Michelle Knight. An expert in the field of trauma and recovery, he explained to the court that Knight had suffered “the longest and most severely” in the house where she was held.
Ochberg said that Knight’s role in the dynamic was commendable, noting that even when forced under threat of abuse and death, she still stepped in to protect Berry and DeJesus at her own risk:
“She served as doctor, nurse, pediatrician, midwife. She did the delivery. She did it under primitive conditions. When that little baby wasn’t breathing, she breathed into the baby. She breathed life into that child… She interposed herself so that Gina wouldn’t get the assault, and she took it. She’s a very courageous and heroic individual.”
Still, Michelle says DeJesus is responsible for her survival, adding:
“Gina was my teammate. She never let me fall, I never let her fall. She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse… My friendship with her was the only thing that was good out of this situation. We said we will someday make it out alive, and we did.”
Telling Castro she “spent 11 years in hell, and now your hell is just beginning,” Knight concluded:
“I will overcome all this that happened. But you’ll face hell for eternity. From this moment on, I will not let you define me or effect who I am. I will live on, you will die a little every day as you think about the 11 years and atrocities you inflicted on us… [you] don’t deserve that, you deserve to spend life in prison. I can forgive you but I will never forget.”
Michelle Knight finished saying she felt “finally being heard” after more than a decade was “liberating.”